Mosheh Oinounou Named Executive Producer, ‘CBS Evening News’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Mosheh Oinounou will replace Steve Capus as the executive producer of “CBS Evening News,” a behind-the-scenes change at the venerable evening newscast that takes place just a few weeks after a new anchor was placed in front of the camera.

Capus, a former president of NBC News and a TV-news veteran, is expected to retain his duties as executive editor of CBS News.  He is expected to pursue other opportunities within CBS News, but could also find a new role outside the organization. Jeff Glor started as anchor on the broadcast in early December.

In Oinounou, CBS News has a producer whose experience matches that of CBS News President David Rhodes. Both executives have logged stints at Fox News Channel and Bloomberg Television. In recent years,  Oinounou has served as executive producer of CBSN, the streaming-news outlet upon which CBS News has placed significant emphasis.

Executives at the CBS News unit have indicated they want to add new digital extensions to “CBS Evening News,” a longtime broadcast-TV staple. Indeed, in May of 2016, CBS News retooled its weekend evening-news broadcasts, replacing a more traditional version of the program with “CBS Weekend News,” which has been anchored by correspondents assigned regularly to CBSN.

More to come…

 

 



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Series Mania Launches Writers Campus For 2018 Edition – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


France’s Series Mania, one of Europe’s most important TV events, will be launching a Series Mania Writers Campus at this year’s 9th edition. The week-long workshop is further evidence of growth for the festival, which has joined force with the city of Lille, a burgeoning culture hub in France’s Hauts-de-France, relocating from Paris’ Forum des Images in its Les Halles neighborhood.

20 up-and-coming TV writers from across Europe will be invited to share in intensive training at the program, which runs April 27 – May 4, concurrently with Series Mania, which bows out May 5. The alumni are chosen via a dedicated call for TV drama projects in development, and must have previously worked on at least one professional broadcast TV series.

Many of the participants will be chosen directly from classes at the Writers Campus’ partner schools: La Fémis and Le Conservatoire Européen d’écritures Audiovisuelle in France, Emerson College in the U.S., Serial Eyes in Germany, The London Film School, The Sam Spiegel Film School in Israel and Midpoint in the Czech Republic.

The Paris College of Art and Emerson College in the U.S. have partnered with Lorraine Sullivan for the event. Sullivan, who will act as head of studies, previously worked at Lionsgate and Canal Plus before creating London’s first TV series festival and founding one of Europe’s first courses in writing and producing for TV, a partnership between the Berlin, London and the Danish Film Schools.

Mentoring for the attendees will come from industry pros Martie Cook, a 25-year TV veteran who has written and produced on major U.S. series such as “Full House” and “Charles in Charge,” and Sarah Treem, co-creator and showrunner of Showtime’s’s Golden Globe winning “The Affair.”

“We believe it is important to train and support a new generation of European authors who are able to meet the growing demand of the industry,” Laurence Herszberg, founder and general director of Series Mania, said of the new program.

She added: “As with Series Mania, we are always looking for new talent and the Writers Campus is the perfect opportunity for us to encourage creation and identify promising screenwriters.”



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British Competition Watchdog Warns Against Fox Takeover of Sky – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


In a blow to 21st Century Fox, Britain’s competition watchdog has provisionally concluded that the company’s proposed takeover of satcaster Sky would have a negative impact on media plurality, increasing the likelihood that the British government will reject the $15 billion bid.

The Competition and Markets Authority said Tuesday morning that it “has provisionally found that Fox taking full control of Sky is not in the public interest due to media plurality concerns, but not because of a lack of a genuine commitment to meeting broadcasting standards in the U.K.”

It noted that the Murdoch-owned news outlets are already watched or read by a third of the British population and a deal “would lead to the Murdoch Family Trust (MFT), which controls Fox and News Corporation (News Corp), increasing its control over Sky, so that it would have too much control over news providers in the U.K. across all media platforms (TV, Radio, Online and Newspapers), and therefore too much influence over public opinion and the political agenda.”

Fox wants to buy up the 61% of Sky it doesn’t already own. Gaining full ownership would mean that Sky News, the Times of London newspaper, and the Sun tabloid would all fall under the Murdochs’ control. According to media regulator Ofcom’s earlier findings, Murdoch properties would collectively rank No. 3 in terms of share of news consumption, behind pubcaster the BBC and news provider ITN.

In its provisional findings Tuesday, the Competition and Markets Authority, or CMA, suggested that Fox could mitigate the concerns on media plurality by spinning off Sky News or by finding ways “to insulate” the news channel from the Murdochs’ influence.

The CMA now has until May 1 to issue a final report. Tuesday’s findings are followed by three weeks of further consultation. In a statement, Fox said that it was disappointed by the preliminary conclusion on media plurality but that it would continue working with the watchdog in advance of the final report.

“We welcome the CMA’s provisional finding that the company has a genuine commitment to broadcasting standards and the transaction would not be against the public interest in this respect,” Fox said. “Regarding plurality, we are disappointed by the CMA’s provisional findings. We will continue to engage with the CMA ahead of the publication of the final report in May.”

After the watchdog issues its final report, the British government will have 30 days to deliver its own verdict. The government is not bound by the CMA’s findings, but if the watchdog reaffirms its warning against the deal, it would be politically difficult for the ruling Conservative Party to override that without being accused of cozying up to the Murdochs.

Fox itself is in the process of trying to sell off some of its assets to Disney. That mammoth transaction is likely to be concluded after the British competition authority completes its scrutiny of the bid for Sky, but the watchdog said it would consider the implications of the Fox-Disney merger in any remedies it suggests.

Murdoch has long coveted Sky, and nearly succeeded in adding it to his empire in 2011 before Britain’s phone-hacking scandal – which implicated Murdoch-owned newspapers – torpedoed his efforts. For several years, Murdoch was considered too politically toxic for the bid to be revived, but enough time had passed for Fox to make a new play for Sky in December 2016. Lachlan Murdoch, Fox’s executive chairman, called the takeover his company’s “No. 1 priority.”

Social activists have continued to oppose Sky being absorbed into the Fox fold, arguing that the latter’s checkered corporate history, especially the racism and sexism scandals that have beset Fox News, made the Murdochs unfit to be the owners of such an important media property.

British regulators have rejected that argument in a series of reports. But last September, the government decided to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to examine the bid more closely on plurality grounds.



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‘Geostorm’ Enjoys Weekend Win – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Warner Bros.’ sci-fi thriller, “Geostorm” blew away the competition in its first weekend on release in Japan.  For the Jan. 20-21 frame the film earned $2.2 million on 171,000 admissions to take the number one box office spot.

Placing second, with $1.4 million, was “The Lies She Loved,” Toho’s drama about a woman who discovers her long-time boyfriend has been living under a false identity. Director Kazuhito Nakae won the Grand Prix of the Tsutaya Creators’ Program with his treatment for the film, as well as financial and other backing from Culture Convenience Club, the company that runs the nationwide Tsutaya DVD/CD rental chain.

In the number three slot was Disney’s “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.” In its sixth weekend on release the film made $1.3 million, boosting its cumulative total to $61 million.



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Film Review: ‘Bad Match’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


It’s a sign of how little most movies channel contemporary experience that the manners and habits and attitudes of the age of Tinder have remained a relatively off-screen topic. This past January, the Sundance drama “Newness,” directed by Drake Doremus (it has yet to be released), was a designer soap opera that had a few telling observations to make about what it feels like to live your life in a digital meat market. As a movie, though, it didn’t quite take hold. The new pulp thriller “Bad Match” is darker, grimier, and more entertaining. Written and directed by David Chirchirillo, who co-wrote the scurrilous violent hipster comedy “Cheap Thrills” (2013), it’s “Fatal Attraction” for the age of the revolving-door hook-up, and in its fevered low-budget way it’s just clever enough to do what it sets out to do. It gives toxic masculinity its just desserts.

Jack Cutmore-Scott, who suggests a randier version of the young Greg Kinnear, plays Harris, a sleazy-smart young L.A. dickwad. He works for an advertising agency, and when he’s not soaking up his time with murder-fantasy video games he’s usually on a hook-up app, where he’ll swipe on 50 women’s photos a day, playing the percentages. He generally winds up in bed with one of them a few hours after they’ve met. Then he sneaks away, never to be seen again, ready to dive back into the shopping mall of sex.

In movies, the cad who discards women as quickly as he finds them is an old trope (if Michael Caine’s Alfie had Tinder, he would have been this dude). But what gives “Bad Match” its twinge of originality is the way that Harris uses technology to seal himself inside an impenetrable bubble of solipsistic male coolness. Even on a date, where his opening gambit is to predict what drink the girl he just met is going to order, he’s staring at her through an imaginary computer screen.

Then he meets Riley (Lili Simmons), a willowy and confident 21-year-old student who seems just as avid in her gullibility as the others, until she fastens onto Harris and won’t let go. She keeps texting, calling, imploring. Is she stalking him? Or is the stalking in the eye of the beholder with the cold shoulder?

Thirty years on, “Fatal Attraction” still looms as a mythical thriller of feminine power. Yes, the Glenn Close character was “crazy,” but she stood in for all the women who ever thought, in the years after the sexual revolution, “I am not just going to be discarded!”

In “Bad Match,” Lili Simmons plays Riley in the same vein, as a spurned object of desire who will lie, manipulate, and shoot over the edge of acceptable behavior, but only to shove her humanity in Harris’ face. She fakes a suicide attempt (a loathsome thing to do — but Harris’ indifferent response is even worse), and by the time she begins to mess with his Twitter account, we’re in a brave new world of payback. Jack Cutmore-Scott, in a strong performance, makes Harris a supremely confident dude coming apart at the seams. When the police knock at his door, and we know in our bones what they’re looking for, the film turns into a cautionary pulp pressure cooker: Live by the digital gaze, die by the digital gaze.

There’s a moment where Riley has snuck into Harris’ apartment and is making a surprise dinner for him, and when Harris discovers her, she’s holding a kitchen knife. Shades of “Fatal Attraction” — but more than that, shades of every cheap thriller that ever introduced a psychological situation only to turn it into something action-y and boring. “Bad Match” often feels like it could become that kind of “ride,” but it never does. It’s something a shade more interesting: a scuzzy bro nightmare.



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Amanda Fuller’s Thriller ‘Fashionista’ Bought by Freestyle – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


In today’s film news roundup, “Fashionista” and “Silence Patton” get distribution and the Motley Crue biopic is rounding out its cast.

DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS

Freestyle Digital Media has acquired the North American rights to Simon Rumley’s thriller “Fashionista,” starring Amanda Fuller, Variety has learned exclusively.

Ethan Embry, Eric Balfour, Alexandria DeBerry, and Alex Essoe also star. The movie will be released on cable, internet, and satellite platforms and in select Alamo Drafthouse locations (New York, Austin, San Francisco and other sites to be determined) on Feb. 9.

The movie, set in Austin, tells the story of a 30-something couple who run a vintage clothing store. Business is booming, but cracks are showing in the relationship.

The film is produced by Rumley’s Rumleyvision, Bob Portal of Alliance Media Partners (AMP), and Fantastic Fest. It’s executive produced by Tim League, Adam Goldworm, and Doug Abbott, and co-produced by Paul Knaus.

“Fashionista” has appeared at more than 25 festivals including Fantastic Fest, Sitges, Fantasia, Busan, Tallin, Sydney, and Frightfest London.

*****

Screen Media and Unified Pictures have acquired rights to the documentary “Silence Patton,” directed by Robert Orlando, Variety has learned exclusively.

The documentary centers on General George S. Patton and those who opposed him and explores questions of why he was ordered to stand down and let the Red Army take Berlin or Prague at the end of World War II.

Orlando partnered on the Patton project with executive producer Mark Joseph. Unified Pictures will handle domestic distribution and Screen Media will handle international.

CASTINGS

“Game of Thrones” actor Iwan Rheon is in talks to play Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars in “The Dirt,” while “The Punisher” actor Daniel Webber is negotiations for the role of frontman Vince Neil.

Douglas Booth is on board as Nikki Sixx and Machine Gun Kelly is due to play drummer Tommy Lee. The story is based autobiography written by the band and author Neil Strauss.

Jeff Tremaine is attached to direct from a script by Rich Wilkes, Tom Kapinos, and Amanda Adelson. The book chronicled the group’s ascendance during the 1980s while battling drug addiction. Julie Yorn, Erik Olsen, and Allen Kovac are producing, while Chris Nilsson, Steve Kline, and Rick Yorn are exec producing. Members of Motley Crue are co-producing.

The group played their final concert at the end of 2015 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.



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Neon Buys Police Shooting Drama ‘Monsters and Men’ – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


In one of the first major sales of Sundance Film Festival, Neon has bought Reinaldo Marcus Green’s police shooting dramaMonsters and Men” in the wake of its Jan. 19 premiere at the festival.

The cast includes “Hamilton” cast members Anthony Ramos and Jasmine Cephas Jones, John David Washington (“Ballers”), Kelvin Harrison Jr. (“It Comes at Night”), Chanté Adams, Nicole Beharie, Rob Morgan, and Cara Buono of “Stranger Things.”

The story takes place in Brooklyn where an unarmed black man is killed after an altercation with police officers, leading to a nuanced investigation into a tight-knit neighborhood.

Producers are Elizabeth Lodge Stepp and Josh Penn of the Department of Motion Pictures, Sight Unseen’s Eddie Vaisman and Julia Lebedev, and Luca Borghese.  The film was executive produced by Sight Unseen’s Leonid Lebedev and Oren Moverman, Chiara Bernasconi, Charles Miller, and the Department of Motion Pictures’ Noah Stahl. Sight Unseen fully financed the film.

The deal was negotiated by Neon and Endeavor Content on behalf of the filmmakers. It was announced three days after media investment company 30West announced it had acquired majority ownership in Neon, a specialist in the independent theatrical marketing and distribution space.



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‘The Resident’ Consultant Under Review Amid ‘Code Black’ Sexual Harassment Claims – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Twentieth Century Fox Television is reviewing a sexual-harassment claim against Zachary Lutsky, a prominent Hollywood medical consultant who currently works on Fox’s “The Resident” and was the subject of a human-resources investigation while working on ABC Studios “Code Black,” Variety has learned.

“We have only recently learned of these allegations through an inquiry from a reporter,” said a spokesman for 20th Century Fox TV. “We are not aware of any claims made concerning his conduct on ‘The Resident.’ We take these matters seriously and are reviewing this.”

Lutsky served as a medical consultant on season two of “Code Black,” which is produced by ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios. Three sources close to the production told Variety that in 2016 Lutsky had already been informed that his contract would not be picked up for the following season when two female employees told producers that they had been subjected to continuous verbal sexual harassment by Lutsky over a period of several months. The two women met with producers on Dec. 12. The following day, Lutsky was informed that a human-resources investigation into the complaint had been opened. He was asked not to return to the production.

“I am quite disturbed by these heartbreaking anonymous allegations,” Lutsky said in a statement to Variety. “I take them very seriously and categorically deny them. I sincerely care for the feelings of everyone I encounter, including friends and co-workers, and I conduct myself in a way that treats all people with dignity and respect. As a physician, I have dedicated my life to helping those in need. In my 16 years of practice, I have never been accused of any wrongdoing. True harassment allegations are serious. I have never engaged in, been fired for nor been found guilty of any allegation of misconduct — ever.”

A spokesperson for ABC Studios, the lead producer on “Code Black,” declined to comment. Among the series Lutsky previously worked on were CBS Television Studios’ “A Gifted Man”; Warner Bros. Television’s “Hart of Dixie,” “Miami Medical” and “ER”; and Sony Pictures Television’s “The Mob Doctor.” He was credited as a producer on multiple episodes of “Code Black.”

In addition to his television experience, Lutsky is an active physician who works in emergency medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.



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Paul Rudd on Ant-Man 2, Work With Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


Playing a diminutive superhero helped Paul Rudd land a role as a major-league baseball player turned spy in “The Catcher Was a Spy.”

“I think it was ‘Ant-Man’ that brought us together,” director Ben Lewin said at the Variety Studio presented by AT&T while promoting the World War II thriller on Friday at the Sundance Film Festival. “I remember at the premiere of ‘Ant-Man,’ I was thinking, ‘Wow, wouldn’t it be great.’ … It was a pivotal event for me. Mentally, I certainly became fascinated with you as Moe Berg as a result.”

Lewin said the film helped him see the actor in a new light, thinking, “‘Boy, you can do all sorts of stuff.’”

Rudd also discussed his relationship with Evangeline Lilly’s Wasp in “Ant-Man and the Wasp.”

“We’re very much partners in the film,” he teased.

He also said it was a thrill to work with “legends” Michelle Pfeiffer and Michael Douglas.

Rudd recalled seriously injuring his arm on the “Catcher Was a Spy” set while catching 80-mile-per-hour baseballs with an old-fashioned baseball mitt from the period.

“I wound up having to go to the hospital (with) tendonitis. My whole arm was in a cast for like two months,” he recalled.

The Catcher Was a Spy” also stars Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti, Mark Strong, Jeff Daniels, and Sienna Miller.



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ICM Partners Acquires Majority Stake in Royce Carlton Speakers Agency – Variety – Sharing Variety Magazine


ICM Partners has acquired a majority interest in Royce Carlton, the New York-based speakers agency, in an effort to broaden the scope of its activity on the lecture circuit.

Royce Carlton will remain an autonomous banner within ICM. ICM’s existing lecture booking department will be folded into Royce Carlton. The enlarged operation will be headed by Jonathan Perelman, ICM’s head of digital and lectures, along with Carlton Sedgeley, founder of Royce Carlton, and executive VP Lucy Lepage Sedgeley.

“This is a perfectly timed, strategic move for us that assures our agents and staff, as well as our clients a long-term transition plan, while giving us access to more resources and clients to grow the agency while continuing to provide the best possible service to the people we represent,” said Sedgeley and Lepage, who are married.

ICM and Royce Carlton have a long history of working together on mutual clients, such as authors Ken Auletta and Thomas Friedman and actor Alan Alda. The acquisition was a natural progression of that relationship. Royce Carlton was founded in 1968 by Sedgeley and Lepage and at present has about 16 staffers.

“This is a business we really like and Royce Carlton is the preeminent agency of its kind,” ICM Partners chief Chris Silbermann told Variety. “Culturally they are a great fit for us. This is a case where we will grow this business to make one plus one equal three.”

Larger Hollywood tlent agencies are taking more interest in the potential of the lecture circuit in the quest to diversify beyond the core film, TV and music arenas. Last month, UTA set a deal to buy speakers agency Greater Talent Network.

For ICM, Perelman was the logical choice to drive the growth of the speakers department, in part because he has experience on the other side of the table as a client on the speaking circuit thanks to his past experience as a senior executive at Google and Buzzfeed. He’s been with ICM since 2015.

“The combination gives us a far greater footprint in the speakers’ world, and will enable significant growth for ICM Partners,” Perelman said.

The deal marks ICM’s second boutique acquisition this year. In March, the percentery bought Headline Media Management, which reps local and national TV news and sports personalities.



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